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The Magpie


Oh, harshly misunderstood crow,

Your priestly raiment flashing white,

Springs up like some alien

Threatening all the dreams I owe.


But never could I dislike you,

Your stark whiteness adorns the lawn.

Other corvids are taunted and mocked.

Behold merry avian Jew!


You fly down to land near the daws

Or rather you bounce in cheerful

Charade like some gymnastic clown

Waiting for a round of applause.


All birds flee at the sight of man;

Is it the penalty we pay?

As man can never get near you

He hates you as much as he can.


Crows! Are they’re too clever by half?

Knowing not their place in man’s scheme:

‘The scandal-mongers of the woods’ *

Give them a chance to make you laugh.


Do they not thrive upon our hate?

Coming back again and again,

Cheeky as any bird could be,

Cocking a snook at careless fate.


You’d think alongside flashy jay

And the chough’s scarlet legs and beak

Other crows would fire themselves up

Brightening the daws’ sheen of grey.


Huh! Just to please us and yet why?

Black was selected to serve them

For reasons nature decided

Seeing no cause to please man’s eye.

© RM Meyer

Winswell Water, December 2019

* Ex Ovid, Metamorphoses.